Submitted by Dergonu, edited by Clephas
Pure Song Garden has a similar structure to Pulltop's previous games, Kono Oozora and Miagete Goran: a club at a school doing something together to achieve a common goal (Clephas: Seishun, lol). But this game does put a lot less focus on the club part compared to the previous games, and it actually spends very little time in the school part. During the entire common route + the routes that I played, they only stepped into the club room, and they never actually attended any classes or anything. I liked this, as even I am starting to get a little bit tired of the general school setting at this point.
The game takes place in the future, in the year 2027, where VR has become a huge part of everyone's daily lives. Everything has been made simpler through the use of VR, and people have grown quite reliant on it. One of the most recent trends is VR idols, and a big event called "Pure Song Garden" is approaching where the VR idol Ai will perform "live." A special doll has been prepared for Ai, which will allow her to actually move around, as if she was alive. This was supposed to bring humans and VR even closer. However, things do not exactly go as planned, as a girl from the year 2077, Hoshino Iroha, appears out of nowhere and inhabits Ai's doll body. The time traveling technology used by Iroha cases some major errors with the VR in 2027, thus sending the whole city into chaos.
You get tons of futuristic made up words thrown at your face within the first five minutes in the game, which I have to admit, got a little irritating. I get that we are in the future and all, but shoving all these new terms down my throat so quickly got a little bothersome. The VN has a hint system, which lets you go back and read some info on the fictional terms though. So if you do happen to ignore one of the explanations, you can easily read about it later.
The music in Pure Song Garden is fantastic, just like in Kono Oozora and Miagete Goran. The art is very nice, and this is the first game I have played from Pulltop where they used the E-mote system. There is lip syncing and constant character animations. At first, the lip syncing was not to my liking. It looked odd and unnatural. However, after about an hour or so in game, I started getting used to it. Now, I'm honestly a big fan of it. It gave much more life to the characters, and helped underline the fact that this game was supposedly taking place in the future. The music felt reminiscent of Kono Oozora's music, which made me feel a little nostalgic, and the art was pretty detailed and well done. Overall, great music and art.
The story in PSG was pretty good. It has less drama than the previous games I mentioned, though there was still a decent chunk of it. It did make me cry a few times, and some of the moments definitely had some impact. Overall, although it doesn't compare to something like Kono Oozora, it felt like more than just a standard moege blob. That being said, I wish they would have pursued a few plot points a little more than they did. For instance, the main character has some trauma linked to music that made him a little opposed to the idea of composing songs. In the beginning, he was afraid of even just touching a piano. However, this conflict just kind of worked itself out randomly, which felt a little boring to me. Sure, they had a few reasons in there that made some sense, but I still wish they would have pursued this particular point a little more. Then again, Kanata's own inner conflict wasn't all that important, as the story was more centered around Iroha.
(I did skip a few routes that weren't linked to the true ending, so perhaps they pursued Kanata's trauma a little closer there, who knows. I did not skip those routes because the game bored me or anything, but I was honestly mostly interested in the true ending for the story. Also, Iroha was my favorite girl from the start. I'll go back to the game and play the other routes eventually.)
The main character was good. He was not a full on hetare , and he actually did something other than sit around and be a heroine magnet (Clephas: lol). I also liked the way they used him in CGs. You get the feeling that he is actually there, and that he isn't just some faceless shadow lurking in the background.
The romance in the true ending was good, though a little simple. It was rather straightforward, though I think that was the intention in the true route. Kanata and Iroha were meant to be together, and their relationship was important to the flow of the story in general.Overall I liked the game a lot. It feels like Pulltop is really adamant on sticking with the old formula that they used in Kono Oozora, as PSG was quite similar in many aspects. The story is entirely different, and the setting is pretty far away from Kono Oozora's. However, the similarities are still pretty obvious. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on the reader. I personally loved the similarities, as I am a huge fan of Pulltop's older games. Still, I can see how some people would want something entirely unique in a new game.